Can I Ship My Car with Stuff In It?

personal items in car

You might wonder when getting ready to transport your vehicle what can go inside. After all, it's not being driven, depending on how big it is could mean there's lots of room, so why would shipping a car with stuff in it not be ok?

It may even seem like smart idea to use the extra space to ship personal items. That way you can move your car and personal belongings together. However, with car shipping there are some rules and guidelines you will need to be aware of before you load up items in your car.

It is entirely up to you whether or not you transport your car and belongings together. Use common sense when deciding what goes with your car. Always be aware that If your personal effects are expensive, delicate, or sentimental, don't put them in the vehicle as they are likely non-replaceable.

Is Shipping a Car with Items Inside Allowed?

It is totally legal and allowed to transport a car with personal items in your vehicle or trunk, as long as it's a small amount. Car transport carriers will do this free of charge. Keep in mind however, that many of the auto transport companies you will talk to will likely guide you to not ship personal belongings in your car or at least make sure they are items that are low in value to limit risk of theft. This is due to the possibility of someone breaking in or damage during auto shipping.

If over a certain amount, usually 100 lbs, they may ask for an additional fee. That is the common weight limit. Also, when shipping your car, items must not be in the driver's seat. Remember, shipping personal items inside a vehicle are done at your own risk. So, put them out of sight. Also, the driver needs a full view around the vehicle when moving it. Personal belongings must also fit under the window line to safely load and unload your vehicle.

Appliances and Furniture are Not Considered Personal Items

Remember to limit what you place in your vehicle to personal belongings only. Many companies may call them "household items". However, household items could also be appliances and furniture. These are not allowed as the carrier is not licensed to be a mover. Be sure you are shipping only personal belongings when using car shipping companies and placing those items in the trunk (depending if you vehicle make has one) whenever possible.

Tip: Thee best way to reduce any doubt is to speak to the transport company you plan to work with and see what their rules are about items in your car.

Can I Load Stuff in the Bed of My Truck when Shipping?

If you have a pick up truck, you won’t be allowed to leave anything in the bed, strapped down or not. This is because shipping items in a truck bed can be a danger to the other automobiles and become a liability to the auto shipping company carrying the load. Items flying off the bed could also damage other vehicles around the carrier. This is because although it is strapped down, your item may become loose due to the jostling encountered with transport.

Does Insurance Cover the Stuff In the Car?

The carrier is licensed by the department of transportation and insured to move vehicles only. Shipping personal belongings will not covered by insurance. As mentioned, prior to transportation most carriers shipping your car recommend that you remove all personal belongings so they do not make their way on to the carrier. This is done to avoid the risk of theft. The carrier hired by the auto transport company does not inventory anything you are shipping in your car. Items inside can easily be taken when a driver stops at rest areas, for example.

If you decide to ship a car with personal items during transport is the cause of the damage to your vehicle, it would also not be included in any auto shipping coverage.

Does the Driver Weigh the Items in the Car?

The driver will not weigh what you load when shipping personal items, but rather will make a visual assessment of packing. If yours looks like it is over packed the driver will assume that it is. So be sure to pack your stuff in an organized way do it does not look over the weight limit of 100 lbs.

As mentioned, typically 100 pounds is allowed. To give you an idea, the equivalent of 3 carry on sized suitcases (9” x 14” x 22” which are 30-35 pounds each) or 2 checked sized suitcases (12” x 20” x 30” about that are 50 pounds each).

What About Shipping a Car and Belongings Together to or from Puerto Rico or Hawaii?

We answer in our overseas knowledge article as well, however shipping a car with personal items is not allowed when sailing to Puerto Rico or Hawaii. This is not a rule we have made, but car shipping companies need to follow it as it is actually a maritime rule.

If personal items are found in your vehicle when arriving at the port, they will be given back to you if you are driving it in, discarded by the port staff, or refused by the carrier upon pick up. So, make sure to leave your vehicle empty with less than a quarter tank of fuel.